Thursday, April 25, 2013

Deep South Paranormal

I met Benny Reed at my first book signing.   He was a fan of my writing, so I loved him immediately.  I would have liked him even if he hated my writing, but I do love fans.   Interestingly, Benny was also part of DOA paranormal  He and his group were involved in a plethora of interesting investigations which had me intrigued.  He invited me to join his group several times and I am utterly depressed that each time he invited me I was always doing something else.  I had to work or have a baby or something distracting like that.   However, I was honored to be invited and I watched his group and their investigations from afar knowing they were awesome.

 Apparently, I wasn’t wrong about Benny being awesome because the SyFy network recently cast him to be part of their new show, Deep South Paranormal.  I love this show not only because it has Benny in it, but because it has a little bit of that Southern charm that makes Southern ghost stories so beautiful.   The South positively crawls with folklore and fables and old history filled with tragedy and plantations and white ladies and dark stories.  For example, episode 2 of Deep South Paranormal was filmed during an investigation of an old plantation rich with Southern history that couldn’t have happened anywhere else.   Episode 3 featured the investigation of a cotton gin in Prattville, Alabama.   The episode started with an old Southern remedy used to drive off evil spirits involving sucking the breath from frogs and storing it in glass vials.  I love these little Southern traditions and they make the show much more engaging.  The show does tend to play to Southern stereotypes, but stereotypes are what makes parts of the South fun. 

I don’t watch that many television shows.  I watch American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Parks and Recreation,  Dr. Who, and Vikings.  I’m not a television fan overall, but I know I’ll be adding Deep South Paranormal to my list this season.  The show is great fun for any lover of Southern folklore and ghost stories.  Deep South Paranormal is on at 9 central time and 10 eastern time on the SyFy channel on Weds nights. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Haunting on Larrabbee Street

This haunting story has always been one of my favorites because it does not have a history. The haunting on Larrabbee Street has often been compared to the Amityville case, however, the house on Larrabee Street didn't have the history the Amityville house had. It is a haunting that is unexplainable. The spirit that haunted Allen and Deborah Tallman came from nowhere.
The Tallman's moved into the house on Larrabee Street in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1986. At that time, they had a little girl and a boy who was about 6 years old. Deborah Tallman was pregnant. The Tallman's loved their new home and began a fairly typical America life in their new home. Although they loved their new home, The Tallmans immediately began having difficulties in the house. They were plagued by a rash of sicknesses and their cat went crazy, climbing the walls and screaming all night. Deborah was close to her family and her family usually spent a considerable amount of time visiting Deborah. These visits began to decrease in frequency following the Tallman's move into their new home. Both Deborah's mother and sister indicated they felt sick in the Tallman home. They felt sick and suffocated.

It took more than a year for the haunting to escalate and culminate in the events that lead to the Tallman's fleeing their comfortable home. Deborah had her baby girl and the children began to complain more and more about things in their room. The little boy said that a hideous, diminutive, old woman would come into his room at night. The little girl was plagued by visions of monsters. The Tallman's grew more and more tired as their children kept them up night after night. Even their attempts at time away from home were thwarted when the babysitter saw furniture moving on it's own.

The children's nightmares could be brushed off as childhood fancy, but when Allen began to hear things and see things the Tallmans called their preacher. The preacher came into the home and told the Tallmans that their home was in the grips of something from the devil. He told them that the only way to dispel the evil that had been growing in their home was to go to church more. The Tallman's listened to the preacher to no avail. Things got worse. Windows in the basement relocated on their own, the refrigerator door remained open on it's own, the children continued to be visited by nocturnal terrors. Allen saw the garage catch on fire and when he rushed to extinguish the flame he saw a green eyed demon above the door. Allen even saw a full bodied ghost that rose from the floor in a a kind of fog and took form just long enough to tell him that he was "going to die."
Desperate, the family called the preacher again. The preacher came and told them to play church music all the time. The family listened. They listened and their was a brief reprieve before the entity came again. This time the entire family and the babysitter saw the specter just long enough to turn them all white with fear and send them fleeing into the night.

After the Tallman's left their home, the house became a local sensation and lines wrapped around the neighborhood with curious spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of some random terror. Many spectators claimed to have been successful in their desires. Many claimed to see snow blowers running up and down the driveway by themselves and furniture being flung around inside the house. Of course, none of these stories have ever been confirmed, but the stories themselves turned the Tallman house into a local legend that grew with time. Stories of the house being a gateway to hell and blood dripping from the ceilings proliferated and a media frenzy swept incidents out of control.

Despite this, and despite accusations that it was a hoax on the Tallman's part, the Tallman's have shown nothing but the desire to stay out of the spot light. They've turned down interviews and even rejected Oprah when she invited them to be her guest. They seem happiest forgetting the horror on Larrabee street.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Black Eyed Children

Black Eyed Children are the cause of much debate.   They appeared, as if from a vacuum, in 1998, and since that time the Internet has been crowded with stories of their appearance and activity around the world.  In 1998, a reporter named Brian Bethel was working in his car.  He was sitting in his vehicle alone at night and everything around him was quiet and dark.   Out of this darkness, two children emerged.   The reporter rolled down his window to talk with them.  The children told the reporter that they had been dropped off by their parents to see a movie, but they had no money and had begun the walk home.  The begged the reporter to help them and let them into his car with him.  The reporter was somewhat put off by the appearance of the children in the night and although his first impulse was to let the children in, something in his gut told him not too.   The longer Brian put off letting the children in the car, the more persistent they became.  Brian peered into the darkness and noticed that the children had black eyes.   Their eyes were entirely inky black with no white or iris.  Brian became terrified and was driven by an overwhelming panic and need to run away.  The children sensed his fear and became even more aggressive in their pleas to enter the vehicle.  Finally, Brian abandoned the eerie children and went on to tell his story.

Since Brian's encounter, countless other stories like this have peppered the Internet.  One story I read on the Internet was told by a young man who was skateboarding in the dark.  He was approached by two young children who claimed they were lost and asked if he could take them to his house and let them use his phone.  He offered his cell phone, but the children insisted they use his home phone.  The young man noticed the children's eyes and asked them why they were wearing contacts.  He then declined the children and went home on his own.  He was scared of the children and wanted nothing more to do with them.  When he looked out his window later that night, the two children were still watching him from the front yard.   Another story was told by a woman who was awoken in the middle of the night by two children asking for help.  They wanted to use the phone to call their parents.  The woman was overwhelmed by fear and didn't let the children in, but they stayed at her door for hours begging and pleading.

These Black Eyed Kids, or BEKs,  have stayed on the fringes of the paranormal and have remained so because no one really knows what to make of them.  Some people believe BEKs are part of an elaborate Internet hoax and that those telling the stories speak out on the Internet as part of this hoax.  There are others that believe the BEKs are the ghosts of lost children who wander the earth searching for safety.  Others believe they are lost souls trying to gain entrance to our lives.  Another theory states that the BEKS are demons trying to con their way into people's lives and yet another theory says they are vampires, who must get permission before entering to feed on their victims.  A final group of people argue that BEKS are the product of some bizarre alien human mating.  Whatever the truth is, the stories about these phantom, black eyed horrors are enough to send chills down your spine on the warmest nights.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Spirit Gallery

Whenever I imagine a medium at work, I think of the mediums of the Spiritualist Movement of the turn of the 20th century.  I imagine women and men sitting at old wooden tables talking to the dead.  I also view mediums with skepticism.  I tend to think that in any money making venture there's always an angle and sometimes people stretch the truth for the profit.  I guess I am saying that I think most mediums are full of it and I've never seen a medium that's made me believe otherwise.

Last night however,  I joined medium, Tracy Farquhar, for a spirit gallery at the Lowe Mill and she managed to change my mind.  The Lowe Mill is an old Mill in a minor state of decay.  It has been revamped and turned into an art center.  There are concerts there and many artists have studio space in the Flying Monkey portion of the Lowe Mill.  Beloved Books is in a corner of the Flying Monkey and is one of those last corners of the world that still pays tribute to the written word in the form of purely paper books.  There are no kindles or nooks there.  There are only shelves of old books surrounded by paintings and chairs.

The Spirit Gallery was in Beloved Books and music from the concert below made the floor boards vibrate as the medium spoke.  Dogs barked in the distance and the sound of frolicking people surrounded the darkened book store.   Tracy Farquhar paced in the dark and  said that there were many spirits in the store with us.   She didn't ask any questions.  She just called out a name.  She said there was a Robert or Roger with us  and he was someone's uncle.  She said he died 5 years ago from something having to do with his brain.  She said she saw an old family house by the lake.  She said  Robert/Roger liked fishing.  It was at this point that I admitted that I did have an Uncle Roger who passed five years ago.  He wasn't my favorite uncle so I wasn't overjoyed to talk with him again, but I was intrigued by the accuracy of what she was saying.  She said the family house had just changed hands and that although it was still in the family it wasn't with us anymore.   The house was crumbling.  The foundation was sinking.  There was an old tree in the yard that Roger had buried something he valued by when he was a boy.   Roger saw me as a girl.  I was a little girl to him and he wanted me to remember him taking me someplace.  He also felt bad about some falling out he had with my father.  I thought she was talking about my biological father who had divorced my mother so they didn't talk anymore.  He also said he was worried about a girl, whom the psychic called my daughter.  I told her I didn't have a daughter.  She said it was a young girl who was or had been in school but was leaving because of social problems.  He wanted her to go back to school.  My sister did just drop out of college last semester because of problems with social anxiety, although I didn't tell the medium that.  I tried not to tell the medium much.  She continued to say I had some kind of foot or heal pain and he said I should take care of that. I do have plantar fasciitis and I hate taking care of it because that involves wearing ugly shoes, my nemesis. 

The medium moved on to another spirit and I was left vaguely stunned and trying to figure out how she could have possibly guessed all of that information.  I still can't think of a way,  I am assuming that she did somehow reach the spirit of my Uncle Roger.  I later learned that my step-father and my Uncle Roger had a huge falling out right before he died and that my Uncle had a favorite tree by our old family house where he built a fort and buried his treasures.  The psychic had known things I didn't even know.

The Spirit Gallery ended in many tears and people being reunited with long lost loved ones.  Lots of people were crying.  I was just stunned.  I guess if I believe in ghosts it isn't that much of a stretch to believe in a medium, especially in one who knew more about my family than I do.